The Information Packet Has Arrived!

Like most of the other Korean summer finalists, I received my information packet from iEARN this previous Monday which was April 25th. As you can probably tell, this blog post is way overdue but I have been so busy lately that I have not found enough time to write a blog post. My teachers seem to be cramming in as many tests and projects as they can before the end of the year and it is honestly taking it’s toll on me. On Wednesday I had three tests. Yep, three out of the four classes I had involved me solving math problems and filling in bubbles with a number 2 pencil. I also have my AP test for physics on Tuesday which I should be studying for (This is procrastination at its best). However, It kinda worked out because yesterday morning I received another email from NSLI-Y with some more long awaited information.

Anyway, I knew that my information packet was coming this week because last year the summer kids received it around this time as well. I came home on Monday afternoon and my mom was relaxed and quiet and didn’t mention anything. I was following her  around the house like ducklings to their mother. She collects the mail every single day and I knew that I would find the package with her. The package was a lot bigger than I thought it was gonna be. According to the package, it cost iEARN around nine dollars to send everything to me. Inside the package was a lot of paper. The more exciting contents included a student handbook and a textbook. Like I had guessed, I already own the textbook but I guess it will be good to start on a nice clean slate so I won’t  be forced to have to erase what I have already done. The package also contained a folder with a lot of papers that had to be mailed back, as well as some extra information like internet safety tips, language learning tips, and information pertaining to LGBT students who are participating in NSLI-Y. I haven’t really looked at the stuff since Monday but I will find some time early this upcoming week to look over everything and get everything ready that needs to be mailed back.

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My Student HandBook and Folder with Various Papers Inside

On Friday morning I received an email from NSLI-Y regarding setting up a date for the OPI that I will be taking. The OPI is a pre-assessment of sorts for the program. Anyone who indicates on their application that they have had previous experience with the language will be required to take an OPI to gauge their language ability before the program. It is not important to do amazingly well on the OPI as it has nothing to do with whether or not you participate in the program. It’s simply just to compare your language abilities from before the program to after. So it is not recommended to cram in a lot of language learning beforehand as that really won’t help you in the long run when it comes to figuring out your true language level. We have till the end of May to take our OPI and even though I don’t want to, I am probably going to have to sign up for a date closer to the deadline. I just want to be able to take it stress free and that means after school ends.

So today marks only 60 days left till I am in South Korea. It seems like such a long time but then again it also seems so close. I feel like just yesterday my countdown app said there were 80 days left. My sophomore year is officially over in approximately 25 days and it is a bittersweet thing to think about. It means that I am that much closer to achieving a goal I’ve had for almost 5 years but it also means saying goodbye to another chapter of my life. No matter how I feel about all of this now, I know I will get through everything and be as happy as ever. Thanks for reading such a long post – assuming you got to the end (Though you would have had to get to the end or else you wouldn’t be reading this currently). I have a more exciting post planned for next weekend so don’t forget to subscribe! BYE!

New Beginnings are Often Disguised as Painful Endings.” – Lao Tzu

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Program Dates and First Webinar

All the iEarn Seoul Summer Finalists had to accept or decline their NSLI-Y scholarship by Thursday, April 7th. Which happened to be yesterday. I have known the program dates and the additional information about this summer since I got my acceptance email, but I didn’t want to blog about it until I officially accepted the scholarship. I accepted the scholarship by filling out another online form which asked for some basic information such as my name, birth date, and reference code from the acceptance email. The form also required signing another form with one parent/guardian signature and it also asked for permission from the program to take pictures or videos of the summer program (which meant the participants) and possibly put it on their website, Facebook, etc.

Now, it is time for the more exciting part of this post…. The PROGRAM DATES!~ So I will be heading to Seattle, Washington on June 27th (Which happens to be my mom’s birthday) for the Pre-departure orientation. Then on June 29th, all the finalists will get on a plane and fly to Seoul, South Korea from Seattle (I’m not sure if it will be a flight with stops or without stops but that isn’t really a big deal). We will be studying Korean for 20 hours a week at Sookmyung Women’s University (120 hours total). I will get home from South Korea on August 13th (Which is my stepsister’s birthday). August 13th is a Saturday and knowing my luck, my school will have its first day on that following Monday but…    I’ll live.

On April 4th, 6pm EST, iEarn had their first webinar for the Seoul Summer Program. It was supposed to be a webinar to help the parents decide whether or not they wanted to allow their child to participate in the program. To be honest, the questions were kinda off topic but I didn’t mind since I had nothing better to do than listen to all the questions and answers. However, It was pretty informative and my mom definitely felt better after she was reassured about safety when traveling from home to school and money. During the webinar we also found out that we would get a package in about two weeks with more forms to mail in, handbooks, and a Korean textbook for studying before the program. I am super excited to get the package and I am hoping the textbook they send this year is not the one I already have.

Anyways, Thanks for reading! I will definitely update soon when I receive more information. If you want to be notified via email every time I upload a post, subscribe to my blog by pressing that subscribe button to the right of this post. You simply have to plug in your email and confirm the subscription in a follow up email. BYE!~

“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You are cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming. ” – Nicholas Sparks

The Start of Many

It’s Official~

I have been fortunate enough to be awarded a fully funded scholarship to study Korean in Seoul, South Korea for 7 weeks this upcoming summer. The scholarship I received was given to me by the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. NSLI-Y is a program that is sponsored by the U.S Department of State which sends high school students to countries overseas in order to learn languages that are less commonly taught in school. This program exists to help prepare American citizens to contribute to the Global Community. (More Information on the program can be found under the NSLI-Y tab of my blog)

It’s been about 24 hours since I received my notification, via email, and at times I still can’t believe that I am actually heading to Korea in 2 months. I am being serious. Randomly throughout the day I found myself smiling from ear to ear every time I was reminded of Korea. Especially because I am still getting congratulation texts but I could not be any more grateful for having such AMAZING friends. But despite me getting off topic as usual, this post was created to set the mood for my blog and to do that, I will be writing about the fateful day. (AKA the day I found out I was going to Seoul, South Korea for the summer)

March 31st marked the beginning of Spring Break for my school. (A break that I have been waiting for since Winter Break ended) Our school ended earlier than usual but I wasn’t lucky enough to leave right away as I had plans to take the National Spanish Exam after school. Don’t get me wrong,  I wanted to take the exam but I also didn’t have any lunch yet so I was also quite hangry. (Hungry & Angry) However, I was able to get through the reading and listening portion quite fast and because I was waiting for my friend to finish up, I checked facebook and my email. I wasn’t surprised to see there was nothing new. NSLI-Y’s waves of notifications are always mysterious so I try not to question anything. My friend drove me home and I was welcomed into my house with a hail storm and like more kids my age, I started my Spring Break with a bang. Yes, I took a nice, long 2 hour nap. I woke up around 6pm to the ping of a Facebook message. One of my good semi-finalist friends for Korea had let me know that she had made it to Songdo, South Korea. I obviously rushed to check my email and there it was. In my inbox was an email from NSLI-Y with the subject line “2016 NSLI-Y notification.” I stared at it with disbelief and it wasn’t till I read the opening sentence did I actually react. I began literally bawling my eyes out with pure happiness and I am glad no family members were home because I was a mess. A huge mess. Nonetheless, here I am today. It is one day later and I can make coherent sentences, (I hope) so I think that I have recovered from all the excitement. (Though, I know I will meet you again excitement. Like when someone brings Korea up or when there is only weeks left to my departure.)

I know this blog post was long-winded and I hope you didn’t think it was interminable. The blog posts to come will definitely not be as long as this one is but there was a lot to get off my chest. (And it is Spring Break so there was even more time for me to do things like write blog posts that are way too long) But I promise, never again. All my blog posts from now on will be fun, bite-size posts that will take only minutes to read. ^^ Thanks for reading and make sure to subscribe to my blog by my clicking the subscribe button to the right of this post. Bye!!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu